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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2005-2007 Xterra appears to have a widespread defect where coolant leaks into the transmission, causing transmission failure around 90,000 miles. Repair costs are typically upwards of $3,500.

The same defect exists in the Pathfinder & Frontier as well. And according to the New York Times & a class action lawsuit, the defect actually extends through 2010 model year. More info here.


hardy worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
97,590 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2006 Nissan Xterra engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Nov 082013


  • 100,014 miles


Filled up with gas. Drove approx. 5 miles and service engine light came on.

- Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #23

Oct 312013


  • 105,000 miles
I was coasting on the freeway at around 50 miles, was in low RPM about 2500. I hit the gas to change lanes and as soon as I did, I have no power to the back wheels. My engine RPM shot up and felt as if I was in the neutral. Eased off immediately and tried gassing it very lightly. I was able to make it off the freeway; however, I could not gas it past the 2500rpms. Very scary on the freeway, lucky I have great reflexes to avoid an accident. Took it into the shop and verified it is a leakage from the radiator to transmission problem.

- Saugus, CA, USA

problem #22

Sep 272013


  • 104,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra's transmission has been significantly damaged due to the issue of contaminated transmission fluid / radiator fluid. It started to exhibit symptoms shortly after reaching 100,000 miles, which is just out of reach of the extended warranty.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #21

Apr 242013


  • 152,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that coolant leaked into the transmission, causing the vehicle to stall while driving. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer for a diagnostic test. The dealer stated that the transmission and the radiator needed to be replaced. The contact did not have the transmission or the radiator replaced. The failure mileage was 152,000.

- Violet, LA, USA

problem #20

Aug 132013


  • 137,221 miles
Noticed a coolant smell, loss in power and rumble vibration type feeling coming from the center of the vehicle. Went away and came back. Researched some Xterra forums and came across the radiator issue leaking coolant into transmission. I opened cap, saw a reddish river. Drained a 1/4 cup and its the strawberry color showing the mix.

- Castle Rock, CO, USA

problem #19

Mar 282013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 96,500 miles
I had been noticing a whining noise associated with transmission 'flare' on acceleration for some time, but only in March 2013 was it diagnosed at 96K miles by the dealership as faulty timing chain guides, a known problem with the 4 L engine. The dealer said the faulty parts needed to be replaced soon. I contacted Nissan usa Consumer Affairs about having Nissan partially cover the cost of replacing the faulty parts. Despite having the dealership's original report and estimate, Nissan's regional rep insisted that the dealership had to reconfirm the diagnosis, which was done. The rep then refused to return my calls, and did not respond to dealership queries about the repairs either. The engine noise was getting worse, and fearing a catastrophic engine failure, I had the dealer repair the vehicle. The dealer said the timing chain was slapping and about to fail. The dealership urged me to report the problem to appropriate federal, local and Nissan officials because the problem is potentially very dangerous.

- Sterling, VA, USA

problem #18

Nov 292012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


Check engine light came on and stayed on. Had diagnostics and found catalytic converter not to be working properly. Replaced catalytic converter on 29 Nov 2012. Again on May 2013 check engine light came back on and again it was the catalytic converter. Had to have it replaced again. Total cost of both replacements was in excess of $1900. Contacted Nissan and they would not stand behind their product, said that warranty had expired. Had converter replaced at Nissan dealer the first time.

- Chesterfield, MO, USA

problem #17

Apr 152013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the vehicle jolted intermittently. The vehicle was taken to dealer for diagnostic testing, who stated that there was contamination in the transmission and radiator. The transmission and radiator would both need to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no further assistance. The approximate failure and current mileage was 89,000....updated 07-10-13 updated 07/11/2013

- Rio Linda, CA, USA

problem #16

Apr 182013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Xterra began to feel sluggish and would not change gears appropriately (it is an automatic), after driving a couple of miles. Returned home to check fluids and found that the transmission fluid did not look 'right'. car was towed to a local Nissan dealer/service department and was told that there was cross contamination of radiator fluid with automatic transmission fluid and the cause was that the radiator had failed. Correction required is that the radiator and automatic transmission assembly has to be replaced at a total cost of $8438.43. I was told that Nissan would cover 70% of the cost of the repair, however required that I pay $3000 dollars up front before they would even order the parts. Once I gave them the $3000 by credit card because a check was accepted, I was told it will take three weeks for the parts to arrive and then another two days for the installation. In addition, my extended warranty will not cover the repairs because the radiator is not a covered part according to the warranty. The fine print states that if a non-covered part causes a covered part to be damaged then they do not cover the covered part.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #15

Apr 102013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 107,663 miles
Know radiator leak into transmission. Nissan refuses to pay on extended warranty to repair. My out of pocket expense is $7,300.

- Crown Point, IN, USA

problem #14

Apr 012013


  • 125,000 miles


I stopped at a stop sign, when I accelerated it was like my vehicle was not getting any gas. I almost got hit due to the lack of power. I took my Xterra to the dealership where they informed me that my transmission fluid and coolant mixed due to a crack in the radiator. The radiator and transmission are ruined. I was advised that it will cost around $8000 to fix. At least I didn't have a wreck, although it was close.

- Leander, TX, USA

problem #13

Apr 012013


  • 124,500 miles
Same problem as many others. The transmission fluid and coolant mixed and it is all toast now. This is due to a crack in the radiator.

- Leander, TX, USA

problem #12

Mar 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 119,440 miles
The transmission fluid and engine coolant are mixing causing my transmission to lock in 1st gear.

- La Puente, CA, USA

problem #11

Feb 082013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,182 miles
On Feb. 8th my wife and I were moving into a new place just miles away from our old home. When cruising in between 40-50 mph the vehicle was experiencing extreme vibration in the rear end of the vehicle. It was then that I assumed it might be a universal joint and/or the drive shaft. So when I had the money I brought the vehicle to aamco transmissions to have it checked out. I had to drop it off but later that afternoon the mechanic called me and told me it was the drive shaft and the frontal U-joint. He replaced the U-joint and re-balanced the drive shaft. I thought the problem was solved but just a few miles down the road I realized it hadn't. so I brought it back and they took a second look and told me it may be two things. Either the torque converter is bad or the coolant hose busted and the antifreeze was draining into the transmission which would cause the transmission to blow out. They then told me to fix the transmission would cost me around $6,000 which to me is worth more than the actual vehicle. When I got home I did a little research and found that sure enough the antifreeze was leaking into the transmission. The antifreeze looks like a green apple milkshake if you can imagine. I don't know what to do because I know that there are no recalls for this issue nor warranty coverage. Hundreds of people have complained about this exact issue. I'm at a loss, and now there's absolutely nothing I can do with my only transportation.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #10

Jan 152013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Told the timing chain tensioner plastic part failed; only indication is a whine sound from the engine. Nissan issued a tsb to their dealers about this issue, but nothing to the consumer. If the timing chain fails it will cause a catastrophic failure of the engine and a possible crash. An unknowing consumer has no idea about what this sound means (just sounds like a noisy engine) and might have little warning prior to a timing chain failure. This is a common issue on the type of engine in the Xterra, it affects other model also, and at a very low mileage 50-60K mi. Consumers need to be notified of this defect and to listen for the noise. Not everyone takes their vehicle to the dealer. Most mechanics know that timing chains are supposed to last well over 100,000 - 200,000 miles and would never suspect the defect. A safety recall or at least a notification to consumers would be advisable.

- Oro Valley, AZ, USA

problem #9

Nov 012012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Transmission fluid leaked into the cooling system requiring the complete replacement of both major components. Total cost of the work was over $5000 after checking with numerous repair facilities. Apparently this is a known issue as every repair shop I talked to said this is an extremely common problem and that every customer has complained about Nissan's response.

- Maplewood, MO, USA

problem #8

Oct 012011


  • 55,000 miles
Engine began to make a whining noise. Was not noticed by the dealership while still under warranty, however, it was noticed after the warranty was up. Was told that the engine noise is due to the plastic timing chain guides that wear down and then the timing chain begins to rub on metal. Failure to change out the entire timing chain kit may result in the timing chain breaking and rupturing the oil pan. I was told by the service department of the local dealership that the plastic guides were a faulty part but it was not a recall, if the car was still under warranty they would have fixed the problem. I don't think any car with less than 100K miles should need such a pricey "wear and tear" fix and I believe this part is faulty and should be recalled. In addition, since I have purchased the car in 2010 I have had a differential seal leak and a rear axle seal leak. All of which I have been told are normal "wear and tear" with a repair price tag of a few thousands of dollars.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #7

May 152012


  • 104,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and fluid was leaking from under the hood. The vehicle was towed to a dealer who diagnosed that there was a coolant leakage which sipped into the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The failure mileage was 104,000.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #6

May 162012


  • 129,807 miles
Was driving my vehicle on the freeway and all of a sudden the vehicle began to lose speed. Pulled off the freeway and the car would just roll. Upon acceralting the vehicle the engine would just rev. Took car to transmission shop and the mechanic advised me that the entire transmission was ruined due to radiator coolant being leaked into the transmission. Prior to this I had the radiator inspected on several occasions in the last couple of years since the extended warranty had been placed on the vehicle and I had already surpassed the mileage of the warranty. The radiator showed no signs of wear and tear.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 102010

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
-fuel system has a problem registering the amount of fuel in the tank, the problem is associated with a faulty fuel level sending unit that Nissan refuses to recall. -whining noise coming from inside the engine, noise comes from a faulty timing chain tensioner guide that Nissan refuses to recall.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

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